25 May 2024, 18:25
By Furniture News Aug 28, 2015

Charlie's Pine and Oak keeps a family tradition alive

Established in 1995 by Charlie Murphy and his brothers and sister, Charlie’s Pine and Oak manufactures and sells high-quality reclaimed and modern pine and oak furniture. With the retailer celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Victoria Noakes spoke to Charlie to find out more about the business ...

Charlie’s Pine and Oak is a business with a history and a passion for both antique and modern furniture at its heart. The retailer manufactures bespoke reclaimed pine furniture – it specialises in tables but also makes beds, bookcases and whatever else its customers ask for – as well as new pine and oak furniture. The company’s main showroom and workshop is based in Enderby, just outside Leicester city centre, and a new shop has recenly been opened in Clarendon Park in Leicester.

“Our father is an antiques dealer, so we grew up surrounded by the furniture he bought at house calls and auctions, and this fostered an appreciation of all things unique and antique,” says Charlie. “We are a family-run business – the four of us handle every aspect of the company. Our aim is to offer fantastic products and value for money, with a traditional and personalised approach to customer care.”

Charlie’s Pine and Oak offers a large variety of styles and finishes to cater to changing fashions and trends and to appeal to all tastes, from rustic to modern, minimalist to classic, as well as painted, shabby chic and true antique finds. The retailer has one foot firmly placed in the past, embracing all things vintage and retro, and the other in the future, sourcing and manufacturing high-quality solid oak and pine furniture from sustainable wood stocks.

“Because of the range of products we offer, our furniture would complement any home, regardless of the customer’s age. Our reclaimed pine furniture appeals to people who are trying to shop ethically and responsibly – using reclaimed pine is an environmentally-friendly way to stylishly furnish your home,” Charlie explains.

“There is a particularly big demand for our reclaimed pine furniture at the moment – interior design has become the focus of so many people, and everyone wants something a little bit different. We’ve recently been working on some new projects for customers, including a specific design for a bed. This design, Chelsea, has now become part of our reclaimed pine range.”

The business prides itself on standing out from its competitors with its personal and friendly service offering, enjoying many repeat customers. Charlie believes that the company sets itself apart with its desire to diversify and to identify new trends with its own smaller, unique workshop projects. In addition, the retailer’s furniture is manufactured and finished to a very high standard, and the family team’s expertise on the products it offers – and the furniture trade as a whole – adds another dimension to the customer’s experience.

Charlie’s Pine and Oak has seen many developments recently, including the opening of a second branch in Clarendon Park in Leicester, which takes the business back to its roots, having started out in a very small shop in the same area. In addition, the company has completely redesigned its website, transforming it into a sleek and modern format.

“We are also excited about the vintage and retro furniture we are now restoring and improving – it’s incredibly satisfying to take something which has seen better days and reinvent it so that it becomes stylish and functional once again. Because of our upbringing, this is an area which we’re all passionate about,” says Charlie.

“One of our tables is currently gracing the Harvey Nichols store in Birmingham, and we provided reclaimed pine tables and shop fittings for the new Zatchels store at Bicester Village and Hoochie Hair in Coventry. It’s great to be asked to provide furniture and fittings for such different settings!”

Charlie identifies big-chain competitors claiming to offer the same high-quality product at much cheaper prices as the company’s main obstacle, along with the trend for consumers to choose lower quality, cheaper alternatives such as flatpack furniture over products which are built to last longer.

“We know that some larger competitors can’t offer the same level of quality as our products for such a low price, but it’s hard to convince customers of that! Equally, not everyone wants to make an investment in their furniture, when cheaper alternatives are in abundance,” Charlie states.

“But this doesn’t deter us from our desire to continue to expand, both in terms of the number of shops we have and the range and breadth of furniture we offer. At the same time, we want to carry on providing the same high standards and level of customer service, as these qualities speak for themselves.”

This article was featured in the July issue of Furniture News.

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